2 Years ago, Netflix launched a new show that was centered on the story of the rise and the fall of the most notorious drug trafficker ever, Pablo Escobar. For 2 seasons we got to see Pablo highest high’s and lowest low’s. We got to see him for more than just a drug trafficker, the show did a good job of showing us who Pablo was, who he wanted to be, and ultimately, the person he died as. But fortunately for us, the show wasn’t named, “Escobar”, it was named “Narcos”. And because of that, the show goes on just like the drug trade. When the top dog falls, someone will be there to take their place. Season three is the story of the group that replaced the Medellin Cartel…This is the story of the Cali Cartel.
The Cali Cartel was created by the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers, Gilberto and Miguel. They also had 2 other people that rounded out the Cali Leadership. José Santacruz Londoño who was known as ‘Chepe’ and Francisco Hélmer Herrera Buitrago who was better known as ‘Pacho’. Gilberto, Miguel, Chepe and Pacho were called the 4 Godfathers of the Cali Cartel. They got so large that they did something that not even Pablo Escobar did…They ended up on the cover of Time Magazine. Cocaine Incorporated is what Time magazine called them, and that is exactly what they were. Pablo was very flashy, these guys were not. Pablo preferred violence to solve problems, these guys made enemies into friends. They figured that there was plenty of product and plenty of consumers for EVERYBODY to eat. And for about 5 years, everyone did eat. They got FAT, grossing 7 billion dollars a year due to them supplying around 80% of the cocaine for the world. That is an INSANE number. But remember, Pablo was making even MORE than that. Rumor has it that Pablo was bringing in close to 400 million a week. But this season isn’t about Pablo, Pablo is dead in this timeline, this season is all about the rise and fall of the Cali Cartel.
*I will try and give a relatively spoiler free review of the season, but if you do your googles you can find out where these people are now*
This season starts out with Pená mulling over going back to Colombia to take on the Cali Cartel…of course he does. Wouldn’t be a show if he didn’t right? With Escobar dead, the Cali Cartel has free rule throughout Colombia, but Gilberto has a different idea. Through his massive influence with the Colombian government (pay close attention), he has concocted a plan in which himself, Miguel, Pacho and Chepe will surrender themselves to the government in six months. They will do minimum time and keep all of their legal money and assets. So basically they have six months to make and wash as much money as they can and come out the clink as billionaires and be out of the drug business altogether. He had a party to break the news to his allies and it was well received in person, but not so much when the allies were not around him.
The Head of Security for the Cali cartel was a man by the name of Jorge Salcedo, and he was a very smart man. He created a system of surveillance for the Cartel that monitored people, tapped phones and more. They were often called “The Cali KGB”. If something is going on in Cali or if someone is talking about them, they knew and through this system, Cali found out that their allies were not so happy about this deal and potential breakup of the Cali Cartel. This is where the show really picks up steam and the cat and mouse games begin between Cali, North Valley, Colombian Police and the DEA. The question is how does one arrest people when everyone in charge of possibly arresting these people are on the payroll? Well guess what? You have six months to figure it out before your opportunity goes by the wayside.
With that being said, I thought that this season was amazing. It was great to see Pená’s character flesh out and not be held back by Boyd like in the first 2 seasons. Let’s be honest, Pablo carried the first two season of the show. We watched the show for him. The DEA agents were just along for the ride. In Season 3, the DEA agents were alive and had feelings and emotions that you could feel through their performances. The cartel members and the many subplots between them were very well done and weaved together to create a drama filled season which continuously added tension to the eventual climax of this season. Without giving too much away…I cannot wait for season four, which will happen (Netflix extended them for 2 seasons), and I am pretty sure that I know what direction they are going in. When you hit the end of episode 10, I’m sure you will know too. But if you still don’t know, just google “Lord of the Skies” and remember that you met him during this season too!